Babesia: Prevention for the Blood Supply

Deborah J. Novak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Exposure to blood, whether through blood transfusion, organ transplantation, or even pregnancy (mother to fetus), can transmit infectious disease. Blood suppliers routinely test donated blood for a variety of infectious pathogens and screening for Babesia spp. occurs in endemic areas of the United States. People living in areas of endemicity are not allowed to donate blood if they have a history of babesiosis. Transmission of Babesia microti through red blood cell blood transfusion is a serious, although rare, public health threat for which these preventive measures are necessary. The first case of transfusion-transmitted babesiosis in the United States occurred in 1979, and the incidence has increased. The National Healthcare Safety Network Hemovigilance Module tracks transfusion-transmitted infections (TTI). In a reporting period ending December, 2016, the most frequently reported TTI involving red blood cell units was for Babesia spp. in 16 of 24 reported infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-135
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Microbiology Newsletter
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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